Southern Delight, available now on Amazon.com. Read the except below.
“Don, I don’t want to talk about it.” Bailey tried to get up off the bed, but Don threw a leg and an arm over hers to bring her closer to him.
“Please, babe, don’t shut me out.” He was surprised by the sincere need that was in his voice. He was not used to letting that side of him show.
Bailey stopped and lay back down. When she looked up at him, he could barely control the urge to kiss her. But if he did, the tender moment they were sharing was going to be gone.
“It’s not easy for me to talk about it, Don. I’m still working on getting comfortable with the realization that I’ll never be the same again. How can I share that part with you, when I barely understand it myself?”
“Who better to start with than me? Someone who cares about you very much.”
He saw the doubt in her eyes. Opening up about something so personal wasn’t going to be easy for her. If the tables were turned, he probably would’ve shut her out as well.
“You don’t know what you’re asking, Don.”
“I know that I have to earn your trust before your love so when you’re ready you’ll come to me and won’t have any doubt that I’ll be there waiting. That I understand. I wish you’d tell me what I did that you won’t let me close to you anymore.”
Bailey looked at Don with tears in her eyes and said, “Don, you've done nothing, but I'm not the same girl I was when we had our time together.”
Tracing his finger over her wet cheeks, Don said, “Those gorgeous green eyes are the same as I remember them.” His fingers moved to trace her lips. He never forgot how sweet they tasted the first time he kissed them. He yearned for their sweetness now.
Although his intention was to console her, his actions seemed to have the opposite effect. Bailey burst into sobs.
“Don, I can’t.”
“Why? Help me understand,” Don pleaded.
“Because I’m . . . disfigured . . . ugly. I don’t want . . . can’t let you see me now.”
How could she think this? She’s still just as beautiful to me as she was so many months ago. He wanted to shake her and tell her how foolish she was for thinking in such a way. But he knew words were not going to change it. Knowing he was one of the reasons she was crying was like a knife in his heart. He would take the pain over and over again if it helped her heal in even the smallest way. Yet he didn’t know what to say to make her feel better. Do such words even exist? You were so full of life: fun, happy, and playful. How do I show you that you’re still that woman?
He remembered how adventurous she’d been in the bedroom before. How could he bring that into something now to help her? Don finally asked, “Do you trust me, Bailey?”
Bailey didn't hesitate one bit as she nodded.
Don got up off the bed and started to remove his tie. “We're going to play a little game, if you make me stop then I will know you don't honestly trust me.”
“I’m tired and don’t feel like playing games.”
He could tell it had nothing to do with her being sleepy. He watched her as she lay on the bed nervously biting her bottom lip.
“You won’t need your eyes open for this game.” It will be better that way.
Reluctantly she said, “Okay.”
“Stand up, please. And any time you say no, it means you don’t trust me.” Don finished removing his tie.
She shot him a look that said she wasn’t sure she was going to like this game.
“No. It’s just that . . .”
“You don’t trust me.” He hoped that wasn’t the case. If she didn’t then, he was the wrong person to be there. But his gut told him he was the only one who could help right now.
He was relieved when she did as he asked.
“Okay. Now turn around and close your eyes.”
Bailey huffed but did as he requested. Once her back was to him, he lifted the tie and put it around her head and covered her eyes. Her hands came up like she was going to pull it away from her eyes, but she didn’t. She let her hands drop to her side.
Bailey’s voice was barely a whisper as she said, “Don, I don't know about this.”
Don turned her around to face him again. He knew he was asking so much of her. He wasn’t sure he could ever open himself up to anyone in this way, but if he could, it’d be with Bailey.
He reached into his pant pocket and pulled out his iPhone. He scrolled through his music list until he came to what he was searching for. He hit play and the room filled with classical music. Don reached out with his right hand, drawing her close to him. Then with his left hand he took her right into his and said, “Your left hand goes on my shoulder.”
“I don’t dance, Don. And I certainly can’t do it blindfolded.”
“Left hand please.”
Slowly he saw her raise her hand and feel her way up his arm until it rested on his shoulder. “Do you feel my hand on your back?”
“All you need to do is concentrate on my touch and let me guide you.”
He leaned into her slightly and stepped forward with his left foot urging her to step back with her right. She clung to him as he moved his right foot and then stepped it to the side then back again.
He felt her stepping on his toes a few times. “Don, if you let me take off the blindfold, maybe I won’t be on your toes all the time.”
“Stop concentrating on what you think you should do and feel the music, feel me. There is nothing else but us right now,” Don whispered.